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YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Yorktown's Conor Gately hasn't just been good lately — he's been great. The Marquette-bound senior attackman entered Tuesday's tilt against visiting Mahopac with an astonishing 32 points (9G, 23A) in his previous four games.
Against the Indians, well, it was more of the same.
Gately racked up five goals and four assists as the Huskers (9-2) cruised to an 11-6 victory over Mahopac (8-4) in front of a packed house at Charlie Murphy Field.
Yorktown's No. 1 playmaker now has 41 points (14G, 27A) in his last five games, bringing his overall season total up to 63 points (22G, 41A). Not surprisingly, Gately's torrid play has coincided with five straight wins for the Huskers, who have averaged 15.8 goals a game during stretch.
“I'm just playing with confidence in my head and mentally I'm like, 'I'm ready to go,'” Gately said. “My teammates help me a lot. A lot of my points are assists, so you can't get those without your teammates. Other than that, we are just playing Yorktown lacrosse.”
Gately admitted that he's felt almost invincible when walking onto the turf.
“Everyone should have that mindset,” he said. “I have that mindset, but I think every player should should think he's the best player on the field. If you don't think that, you aren't coming out prepared.”
Mahopac was somewhat ill-prepared to face Gately, who made countless dodges from behind the cage and into the heart of the Indians' defense. Mahopac planned for Gately to feed the ball, however, he morphed into an ace finisher when the slides never came.
“I was just trying to be aggressive and take my guy,” said Gately, who bagged three straight second-quarter goals to extend Yorktown's lead to 8-2 with 5:02 left in the first half.
Conor Vercruysse (2G), Joey Raniolo (2G), Austin Fusco (1G, 1A), Nick Mariano (1G) and Danny Manning (1A) rounded out the offensive production for Yorktown. Sophomore goalie Austin Graham, a first-year starter, preserved the win with seven saves.
Raniolo, Fusco, Gately, Vercruysse and Mariano scored a goal apiece in the first quarter as the Huskers jumped out to a commanding 5-1 lead. Fast starts have been the overriding theme during Yorktown's five-game run of dominance.
“That's our thing this year,” Gately said. “We have had strong first quarters, but we are trying to focus on four quarters. We are kind of letting teams back into it.”
The Huskers undeniably had a second-half letdown, which allowed Mahopac to make it respectable. The Indians outscored Yorktown 3-1 in the fourth quarter.
“We didn't can our shots and it got a little helper skelter there,” Yorktown coach Dave Marr said. “I think we were a little sloppy. It was a very emotional game. Mahopac is a tough team and always comes out hard and we do the same. It was a very physical and kind of sloppy but we got the job done.”
With the victory, Yorktown successfully avenged last year's heartbreaking 12-11 overtime loss to the Indians. Dating back to 1999, the Huskers are 16-1 against neighboring Mahopac, which stands as the only other team Section 1 team outside of Yorktown to bring home a state title.
Middies James Schiera and Charlie Evans paced the Indians with two goals apiece. Pat Donahoe (1G, 1A), Brendan Hynes (1G) and Ross Thompson (1A) also contributed. Goalie Brandon Crecco made 13 saves.
Overall, Mahopac had a tough time dealing with Yorktown's pressure defense. The Indians committed a slew of turnovers and were unable to take advantage of Evans' prowess at the draw.
“It was unfortunate we didn't come out to play in the beginning,” Mahopac coach Mike Haddeland said. “Some of our younger guys were a little slow and wide-eyed.
If one member of Mahopac's team came to play, it was definitely Hynes. The talented junior longstick middie completely blanked Yorktown's Frankie Fusco, a Drexel-bound star who entered the game with a team-high 32 goals. It was the first time all season Fusco failed to register a single point.
“Yorktown's a good team and they have many weapons, but I knew I was matching up with Fusco before the game started,” said Hynes, a lanky 6-3 all-around athlete who starred on Mahopac's basketball team this past winter. “I knew that (Fusco) was mostly left, so I forced him to his right so he'd hopefully give it up.”
In addition to scoring, Hynes also had nine ground balls and a save, storming into the net to block a Fusco shot after Crecco left the cage in the closing moments. Not surprisingly, the burgeoning star has received Division I college interest from UMass, Penn State, Rutgers, Army and Drexel.
“Brendan's a great player and I wish I had more guys that played with his intensity and heart,” Haddeland said. “Not that my guys didn't, but I think Brendan's a very good athlete. You can see it out here. He was all over the place and was excited to play tonight.”
The Huskers will now prepare to take on archival Lakeland/Panas in the 23rd annual Murphy Cup at Lakeland High School on Friday at 7 p.m.
“We have to play better than tonight to win,” Gately said. “No matter who we have or who they have, it's the Murph Cup and it's going to be a down-to-the-wire game. We could have 15 of the best players in Yorktown history come back and it's going to be a close game, so we will be ready.”
Mahopac travels to Somers for its next game on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Mahopac 1 2 0 3 6
Yorktown 5 3 2 1 11
YT (11:06) Joey Raniolo from Conor Gately | 1-0 YT
YT (9:59) Austin Fusco unassisted | 2-0 YT
YT (7:48) Gately unassisted | 3-0 YT
MA (4:47) Patrick Donahoe from Ross Thompson | 3-1 YT
YT (2:55) Connor Vercruysse from Gately | 4-1 YT
YT (1:04) Nick Mariano from Gately | 5-1 YT *
MA (11:19) James Schiera unassisted | 5-2 YT
YT (8:27) Gately unassisted | 6-2 YT
YT (5:08) Gately unassisted | 7-2 YT
YT (5:02) Gately from Danny Manning | 8-2 YT
MA (0:26.7) Charlie Evans unassisted | 8-3 YT
YT (10:05) Gately from Fusco | 9-3 YT
YT (0:01) Raniolo from Gately | 10-3 YT
MA (6:32) Evans unassisted |10-4 YT
YT (4:23) Vercruysse unassisted | 11-4 YT
MA (2:29) Brendan Hynes from Donahoe |11-5 YT
MA (0:52.9) Schiera unassisted | 11-6 YT
* Indicates manup goal